The story begins when (Basic Accountancy Course) BAC was introduced in mid 1990's and students could join after intermediate level. Even at that time, senior members (including my father) were reluctant and against the idea that students without graduation will be inducted in the profession. They were of the view that students at this stage are not mature enough to enter into professional qualification. Unlike pure sciences, Accounting & Finance are applied subjects and students need more exposure before entering in the accounting profession. On the other hand, the rationale was very clear. Accounting profession in Pakistan was facing a serious challenge in terms of attracting good students. The bright students preferred engineering & medicine for the reason that the route to CA is very long (4 Years post-Graduation at that time). In addition, pass percentage of the students was very discouraging. Length of the route and uncertainty, both were the real impediments in attracting good quality students. The alternate route was opened with a cognizance of trade-off with a graduate program.
The institute was aware of the compromise of graduate degree, hence, announced a degree awarding program for students of BAC in collaboration with Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU). The students were asked to register with AIOU, submit prescribed assignments to mentors/tutors and appear in Islamiyat and Pakistan Studies (compulsory subjects for graduates). The students who successfully completed BAC, submitted assignments and passed compulsory subjects were supposed to get BA (Accounting) Degree from AIOU. Several students of different batches of BAC got registered with AIOU, submitted assignments and passed compulsory exams, but degree was not awarded. When approached ICAP and AIOU there was no proper response. What I got to know informally that the program was announced before a formal agreement, and some regulatory approvals were pending. Lately, I got to know that subsequently AIOU asked some reciprocal arrangement (I am not sure what they were asking on what grounds. Only seniors involved in negotiation can resolve the mystery.) The scheme than vanished without any recourse for the affected students and no alternate scheme ever came up. In 2003, an equivalence was granted by HEC against qualification, however, that equivalence is not good enough for getting visa/immigration in some countries that have a potential market.
This issue is still a pain point for many students and members and has remained unresolved for more than two decades now. The issue of graduation is essentially pertains to global acceptability. There has to be a resolution to the issue or at least a closure of discussion one way or the other. This issue probably has lost its priority later on at the Education & Training Committee (ETCom) and Council level, hence, no serious efforts can be seen for a resolution durlast decade.
BAC classes were started by ICAP in collaboration with some Tutors (now called Registered Accounting Education Tutors ‘RAETs’) in different cities. RAETs were owned by members of the institute by design of the scheme. ICAP also started classes of BAC at its own premises to keep but for some reasons these classes were discontinued at a later stages. The RAETs were designed to be the nursery for students of the institute and this designed has worked really well and produced thousands of members. Initially, there used to be a Pre-Entry Proficiency Test (PPT) for induction in BAC schemes. The pass out percentage of PPT was no different from ICAP results. I personally know dozens of students who have appeared multiple times in PPT before joining ICAP as a student or leaving ambitions of becoming a Chartered Accountant. This was a pre-screening mechanism to ensuring that students with good aptitude and knowledge base are joining the profession. However, at some point in time at a later stage, a commercial decision was taken to eliminate PPT. Several other changes were made to education scheme; such as, a modular scheme was introduced, retention of papers, granting exemptions, rolling back exemptions, etc. All these resulted in an influx of students, thousands of students entered RAET and many left without passing a single module.
During this complete transition cycle of education schemes, RAETs have grown to large institutes but the quality of education has not progressed and uplifted at the same pace. The study material and teaching style is exam driven and focused on passing out in difficult exams of the institute. Every teacher/institute has his secret recipe to pass; e.g. selected questions, notes, etc. One beauty of early days of profession that is lost during the transition is a referring to multiple books. Book selection for every topic used to be a daunting task back in 90s. Shukla, Gupta, Drury, etc. were the common names back then. The students now are restricted to the study material and selected questions. This reduces exposure of the students to various types of literature and orientation of research.
During campaign for Council elections 2017, I had a discussion with various members who are affected by not having a graduate degree. Some of us, have got degrees from recognized universities for our own reasons. But in general, people who been more focused core qualification and do not possess a recognized degree. This becomes an impediment at times, in getting jobs, work permit and immigration in some countries. Some non-members, who have extensive professional experience with a couple of papers remaining also become a victim of not having graduation. This is a real concern and needs to be addressed.
An idea came up that ICAP gets a degree awarding status from HEC or creates a university. Some very limited and myopic views are also being discussed at various forums. This needs to be evaluated in a very broad and open context. A university cannot created for a purpose of distributing degrees. The core of university is knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination. The knowledge creation process differentiates the university from a tuition center. Even in knowledge dissemination the focus is more on broad based grooming and philosophical coverage. Whereas, tuition centers focus on particular subject and applied side. As a matter of best practices, university is a nursery for all professional bodies who train a student in a particular subject, after a broad based grooming; not vice versa. A widely acknowledge gap in presentations skills is due to difference between the university environment and our education schemes. There is an inherent difference in the design that cannot be covered with presentation skills certificates.
The road-map for ICAP from here, is to get some transitional arrangement with degree awarding universities to design a workable program for members and students. For now, ICAP needs to exhaust all options of collaboration with recognized universities for providing graduate and master degrees with some additional efforts . These shall not be only in accountancy; we can diversify to add value, e.g. corporate finance, forensics, public finance, policy development, system assurance, etc., which really adds value for the members and students. We do not need only a piece of paper to be framed on a wall. Our members are hardworking and intelligent; they will go for value addition.
The road-map for future needs to be studied in detail. The changing business environment in complex economies, technology oriented future and other serious challenges demand professionals groomed in a diverse environment of university. We have covered the complete cycle of transition, the purpose of relaxing the entrance criteria as designed in mid 1990s has been achieved. This is an already increasing trend on opting for graduation route for CA. I know some very senior chartered accountants, have opted the graduation route for their children.
There is a need to re-evaluate the educations schemes and entry routes in the overall context. An objective and independent study in this regard is required to assess all the options based on actual data that evaluates on an overall basis and some inferences that are referred in this article. The objective is to assess the direction of the institute and make sure that we produce professionals that remain relevant in the global market to enhance the brand value of CA Pakistan.
Fawad Ahmad, FCA
Contestant for ICAP Council – North Zone A
I am a chartered accountant, belong to 6th Batch, BAC at ICAP, Patyala Ground, Lahore. I did my graduation in political science and journalism, from University of the Punjab, once denied degree under program announced in collaboration with AIOU. I am also an alumnus on National Security Workshop at National Defense University, Islamabad.
This article is written in context of discussion in a WhatsApp group, created for election by some members. The group includes 220 plus members, past and existing council members, senior members of ICAP and contestants for Council. It is difficult to articulate your view in a live chat, especially, a subject this sensitive and strategic. I have tried to express my views clearly and candidly. I am open to any questions on the subject or otherwise.
My Wife is a CA - Article by Asher Noor (something I wrote way back in 1997 for the ICAP Magazine as a trainee student):
When I told my mom that I wanted a professional woman as my wife, she got me one; a Chartered Accountant. She works in an audit firm as its only female partner. Everybody calls her a partner, which leaves me seething with fury. She is supposed to be My partner only, and not everybody’s partner.
I am man of temperate moods, but I do have my wild swings. One thing thatreally bugs me about my wife is her habit of referencing. It really makes be blow the top when she starts referencing food while refrigerating it. By the way, she uses LIFO method while taking out the refrigerated food.
Now I have stopped bringing my office work home. The reason is that one-day I awoke to find all sorts of irrational scratches in ink on my feasibility report project and ten pages list of queries to sole, lying smugly besides it. She thinks I am no good at figure work. Fine with me, for now she handles the budget of the house. Initially she used to send me a bill at month end, but when I told her that I am not her client but her husband she asks for the money in advance. The expenses had been rising steadily over the months, so one day I snooped into the paper maintained in a current file. No wonder! She was charging conveyance and overtime to the house budget. She is crazy, I tell her and she corrects me. No my darling, I am auditor. I fail to see the difference.
Every scrap of the paper in our house is filed. She tells me as per some Ordinance she must keep a copy of every thing for at least ten years before destroying it. I am worried. Does the law apply to husband too? When we go for shopping she never leaves home without her HL-122. At the shop she hates to pay in cash and always ask for any lease terms available. The other day we had an hour-long fight. Later, I got to know that she had charged that hour to a client of her in my time sheet, that I am supposed to make, she charged that to unoccupied. The fight was about the year. She wanted to change the year-end of our house to match the fiscal year of the government.
She says that she says that she loves me and I tell her that I love her too. However, she never believes me. She says that there is susceptibility of my statement to being a misstatement. I say, duh! She wants my representation on this and I tell her that I am going to jump off Habib Bank Plaza, if she won’t shut up. She says that her office is on a minute’s drive from the EH. Darling! Do you mind doing the stunt during the lunch or 5:30 rush hour, please?
Once she brought some colleague of hers and I was shocked to see that the colleague had access to our bills and other financial details. I was calmed by my wife who told me that it was merely an external audit her colleague here was namely to give his opinion. After that the two of them got down to counting our assets in the house. Last I heard, before I passed out, was the word ‘Stock-take’ whether that means.
Last year our house accounts got a qualified opinion for not calling in three quotations for my personal purchases and to compound the mistake I had not kept the supporting etc. of my purchases.
Not a long time back my brother’s wedding was to be solemnized. Wedding cards had been sent. After some time I started receiving some curious steady trickle of letters. I was puzzled until my wife was explained that external evidence was more reliable. She had called for confirmations from all those to whom cards were sent. When she cooks, my wife at times does not go by recipe. Where the recipe says add half-teaspoon vinegar, or one tsp black salt or one teacup of water, she ignores them. She says that they are not material when taken in context of whole meal being prepared.
What control do I really have in this house? She has segregated every job in the house to prevent words starting with C. Now I boil the water for tea. She brings in the mug. I pour the tea. We both take tea and I clean the mugs and all. She tells me in this way the control risk in minimized. Sure Sure. Whatever she says.
She is crazy, I tell you. Surprisingly every body calls her an auditor, instead. I checked the dictionary and I did not state that auditor is a synonym for crazy. The dictionary must be outdated. When we got married, she had given me an Engagement Letter and I Had said how cute-how sweet. Now she gives it to me every year saying that her standards state that it must be sent a new if there is any indication that I misunderstand the objective and scope of engagement. Huh!
All I have done was ask her, if she was still interested in the marriage or else. Apart from sending me the engagement letter once again she tells. I can’t get rid off her just like that. She says that she has the right of being heard before I appointed some one else. I fear she is contemplating callying a meeting. The only hint I got was that I had only 21 days and that I must keep reading one Urdu and English newspaper published and circulated in the vicinity of our house for more details. I have decided to have a chitchat with her.
I told her, “you are crazy” and she said, “I know darling for I was crazy enough to try juggling my CA with my house.” I am happily shocked. She continues, “Darling! I am thinking of affiliating with you. What do you say?” “What I have to say?” I tell her that I am ecstatic and let’s let bygones by bygones. She heaved a sigh of relief and said, “Phew! For a minute, I thought that we had jeopardized our Going Concern status.” Duh! I say.
CA Pakistan comprises of 4 Levels:
Students passed Intermediate / A Levels are eligible for 1st level, i.e. AFC
AFC has 4 papers, all are computer based. AFC examinations are held on quarterly basis in the month of March, June, September and December. Maximum attempts per paper are 3.
Once done with AFC, you are eligible for CAF Level. It has 9 papers, all manual and held on semi annual basis in the month of March and September. Maximum attempts per paper are 6. In addition to CAF papers, one has to pass writing skill test and have to attend 50 hours of presentation course.
Once done with CAF, you are eligible for CA Articleship, which is of 3.5 years from the date of registration as CA Trainee.
After 1.5 years of registration as CA Trainee, you become eligible for CFAP level. It has 6 papers and all are manual. Maximum attempt per paper are 6. Examination are held on semi annual basis in the month of June and December. In addition, one must have to attend 2nd presentation course of 50 hours.
Then comes the last level, MSA, it has 2 papers, all manual with unlimited attempts and examination are held on semi annual basis in the month of June and December.
For any further details,kindly post ur query at : email@example.com
Here are few common reasons/mistakes, .........
Mostly recruiters spend max 1-2 minutes in reading out the CV. So it is the responsibility of applicant to impress him/her within this tenure. So one must be careful while writing and sending the CV because it shows the reflection of your personality.
Common little mistakes
1. Nothing mentioned in Email Subject line
2. Wrong details mentioned in the email subject line
3. Inappropriate wording in the CV
4. Mismatch Qualification / Experience
5. Unsupported CV Format (pefer to make CV in Word document)
6. Missing Contact Info
7. Inappropriate Name (Princess, Prince, Cute, Dashing etc )
8. Inappropriate Email IDs (firstname.lastname@example.org , Barbie_doll@Hotmail.com).
9. Don't confuse your potential employers with statements like "references will be furnished for your comfort"
10. Negative reasons for leaving a job (In Interview / Job Application).
11. CV wasn’t accompanied by a Cover Letter;
12. CV arrived later than the specified closing date for applications;
13. CV was irrelevant to the Job advertised;
14. CV was accompanied by a photo of the applicant (and went straight into the bin);
15. CV was excellent but there were applications more suitable for the job;
16. CV was good, but due to huge volumes of applicants the CV was never read;
17. CV was poorly presented and printed on cheap paper;
18. CV didn’t reach the intended person;
19. CV was too long and lost the reader’s interest (too long, difficult to follow, unstructured);
20. CV contained too little (relevant) information;
21. CV contained too much (irrelevant) information;
22. CV was included spelling or grammar mistakes;
23, CV included misleading and/or false information
1- Make sure you show your CV to someone experienced.
2- Read a little about company before you visit.
3- Google common questions you might face in your interviews. It will boast your confidence that you are prepared.
4- Switch off your phone - Dress professional - ARRIVE EARLY (on a very serious note)
5- First Impression. Greet with hello/salam along with a pleasant smile when you first see them. Tell them your name and forward your file before even the ask.
6- have a good eye contact
7- Leave an impression that your are keen to learn no matter what your expertise are.
8- Don't beats around the bush that you know everything. If you don't, say it confidently. Trust me interviewers have less interest in how much you know but more interested in your honesty.
9- Please do ask questions in the end of your interview. When i say questions that means sensible question. Interviewer will observe you and that leave a great last impression before you exit the place.
10- follow up an email after a week (NOT A WHAT'S APP MESSAGE
Good luck :) !
Here is a list of companies which offer Summer Internship programs in Pakistan 2017, Please keep checking websites for updates about summer internships
1: Descon http://www.descon.com/
2: CCBPL https://lnkd.in/f-U_ciw
3: NLC https://lnkd.in/fUytEvj
4: SSGC http://www.ssgc.com.pk/
5: NBP https://lnkd.in/f_32F5T
6: Sanofi https://lnkd.in/f-4VWBp
7: NESTLE https://lnkd.in/fguKKvk
8: PEL https://lnkd.in/f-QbPrg
9: Shaukat Khanam https://lnkd.in/fhNGpap
10: Muller and philips https://lnkd.in/fpuR7Sg
11: OGDCL http://www.ogdcl.com/Jobs
12: Unilever https://lnkd.in/f-Cxcg6
13: Shell https://lnkd.in/fT6qUke
14: PSO https://lnkd.in/fqxyZEZ
15: ENGRO https://lnkd.in/fs66NqN
16: WWF https://lnkd.in/fs66NqN
17: FFC http://careers.ffc.com.pk/
18: Nestle Pakistan Sales Internship https://lnkd.in/fW9a6P2
19: Telenor https://lnkd.in/fqB_Y9Q
20: PM Youth http://pmyts.nip.gov.pk/
21: Akhuwat https://lnkd.in/fh_kuKz
22: NHA https://lnkd.in/f9FrpyY
There are many elements to a job offer. Here are some things you may want to consider:
Vacation/paid time off (PTO)
Remote or virtual work
Signing bonus or other bonuses
Level of responsibility
Professional association dues, subscriptions
Laptop, mobile phone, home office technology
Auto (car lease, mileage)
I see numerous candidates make simple, easy to fix, mistakes that I though I'd just write a few suggestions I feel can make or break a candidates chances of landing a job.
These are some of my general tips for job seekers;
1. Keep your profile up to date, including a professional picture
2. Have an easy way for people to get in touch, such as a visible email/number
3. Stop saying 'interested' to posts, it doesn't work that way
4. Connect with people in companies you want to apply in, build a network and get referrals!
5. Don't beg, have some self worth. No one is giving hand outs here
6. Don't spam your email/cv out there, have a more targeted approach. E.g. If you send you resume to someone and say please see if I'm suitable for any position, you'll almost never get a response. Instead, mention a specific position you feel you qualify for and why
7. Keep improving, stagnation is the death of us all
8. Highlight your strengths, and mitigate your weaknesses
9. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Don't fall for scams etc
10. NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK!!! If you're connected with a handful of people, you're not going to get far, reach out and make a worthy connection with people
It’s normal to be nervous about exams, but if you let stress get the better of you, it can actually cloud your mind and stop you from doing your best. Becoming overly stressed or anxious can affect your memory, interfere with your sleeping patterns, mess with your appetite and negatively influence your health. Use these 10 tips and tricks to manage your stress so that it doesn’t get out of hand as exams draw near:
Be positive. If you’ve worked hard throughout the year and done your best to prepare, there’s no need to worry excessively. It’s not like stressing is going to help you to perform better in the exam. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, actively interrupt yourself with positive ones, like “I’ve done this before and I can do it again,” or “life will be worth living regardless of this exam”.
Keep things in perspective. In 10 years’ time, you probably won’t even remember this exam. Think about all the good things in your life, whether it’s your family and friends or how much you’ve already achieved, and remind yourself that this exam will soon be over.
Understand that you are not perfect. Of course you want to get top marks, but be realistic. Remember that you can only do your best and that we all have areas where we struggle.
Be proactive. If you don’t understand a section of the work, take steps to change that. Find a tutor, ask your teacher or lecturer for help, or get a friend who understands the work very well to help you with it.
Do things that de-stress you. Listen to upbeat music, go for a walk, enjoy a 15-minute power nap or take a little time out to spend with your friends.
Take deep breaths. Seriously. Panic is often triggered by hyperventilation, abnormally fast breathing that can also make you dizzy. Breathing deeply on purpose is an effective way of physically telling your body to relax. It’s been scientifically proven that breathing deeply positively affects the heart, the brain, digestion and the immune system.
Plan your study time properly. If you leave your studying too late, you’re setting yourself up to stress. Plan your study sessions ahead of time and keep them to about 50 minutes long, then take a five or 10 minute break. Your brain can’t manage peak concentration for hours on end without a short break to rest and recover.
Eat healthily and exercise. Yes, you’ve heard it before. Because it’s true! Taking care of your body is the best way to help your brain function well. Steer clear of too much caffeine. Get active, even when you don’t feel like it. It honestly boosts your energy and helps you to focus better, even if it’s just 10 minutes of dancing to your favorite music in your room.
Get enough sleep. This is especially important the night before an exam. You may think that staying up and cramming is the best option, but you are more likely to remember what you’ve studied and to do well in your exam if you are refreshed and awake after a good night’s sleep.
Talk to someone. If you are really struggling with stress or feeling depressed, the worst thing you can do is keep it all bottled up inside of you. Speak to someone you can trust, whether it’s a family member or a school or campus counselor.
Are your talents being recognized? Are you in a job that is allowing your career to develop? If not, then now is the time to assess your employ-ability, perhaps consider moving jobs and making that all important move up the career ladder. But knowing how to get the ball rolling for yourself, so that you can develop your own career plan, requires some serious thinking and careful planning and that's where leading recruitment organisation Kelly Services can help.
1. Know yourself
If you are to win at work then you need to understand yourself. Have a clear picture of your own strengths and weaknesses, identify what makes you successful and what doesn't and try and ensure that your job is one that plays to your strengths. We all have weaknesses and if you have something which you feel might hold you back then stop worrying about it and take some action. There are very few difficulties that can't be overcome one way or another.
2. Set your goals
Everyone needs to have goals in life both professional and personal and this is one of the most essential aspects of your career plan. If you want to achieve them you need to set some measurements for yourself on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. If you don't know what you want then you'll never know when you have got it.
3. Update your skills
Make sure you are getting the right training at work to enable you to do your job effectively. If you aren't then make your Personnel Manager aware of why you need certain training and be enthusiastic about wanting it. If the training is not offered in-house then find out who runs the course you want, where you can do it, when and how much it will cost. Outside of your workplace you can enhance your inter-personal skills with activities such as competitive sport which is brilliant for team building or perhaps acting which is a big confidence booster for many people.
Everyone talks about commitment these days but it is absolutely crucial that you believe in the organisation you work for and respect the senior management who are leading it. You have to be in tune with the company philosophy, understand the company strategy, its direction - know where it is that the company is going and make sure that you are on the same train going in the same direction. Without this sense of commitment you lose something in terms of motivation and enthusiasm for the job.
5. Make your voice heard
There is a real difference between making your voice heard, i.e. being assertive, and being aggressive. Don't be too pushy and alienate yourself from other people particularly your peer group because their support and respect for you is vital if you want to get on. Develop the art of timing, of presenting your ideas and views logically, of making sure that they will work and of being receptive to other people's ideas.
6. Take responsibility
Being able to take responsibility and to take the consequences of that responsibility is absolutely crucial. As companies move towards a flat management structure it has two main consequences. First, more junior jobs are becoming more responsible and more interesting but this greater level of empowerment for individuals also means that you have to be able to cope with increased pressure both physical and mental. It may be that suddenly you find yourself reporting to a Board Director with no-one in between which can be difficult. It may require some changes in the way you operate but it's not impossible.
As you become more senior in your career it is likely that you will not be working a 9-5 routine, and that you may have to travel, stay away from home and plan your own schedule. Companies need to see that you are prepared to be flexible to do the job that needs doing wherever it needs doing. A critical factor here is having a partner who is empathetic to the requirements of your job, who understands how important it is for you to be able to develop your career and who gives you support at home.
The importance of networking both within your own organisation and outside cannot be under-estimated. Internally it is important that you are respected and seen as being helpful to your peer group and it also helps if you are liked. Try and be the sort of person that other people like to bounce ideas off or ask advice from - be prepared to put yourself out for others. Outside the office you should be developing contacts with other like minded people so that you can provide mutual help for one another. If you want to keep your career plan on track, then getting to know the right people can help you to get ahead.
The value of having a mentor at work provides an ideal environment for positive career development. Ideally at a more senior level your mentor should be someone you respect, who doesn't have any direct line responsibility for you and who represents good working practices. It is with your mentor that you can discuss difficulties about your job, the people you work with etc. without any fear of repercussion. Your mentor will also be able to give you an objective view of situations and provide helpful advice. Whilst you may be looking for a mentor it is also worth remembering that you could perhaps fulfil that role for someone else.
10. Taking risks
Taking risks is never easy but at some point in your career you will have to do so. It may be taking on a new job in a different area, it may be putting yourself forward for a more senior position or it may even be giving up your job and studying for qualifications which you believe will open new doors. Whatever it is, weigh up seriously all the pros and cons before you make your decision so that when you do take risks they are calculated ones and you are aware of the consequences. But at the end of the day, particularly where work is concerned, there is often an element of 'nothing ventured - nothing gained'.
11. Office politics
There are office politics in all organisations, but it is probably true that the larger the company the more chance there is that office politics assume a greater importance. There are two factors here which are really important. First you need to have someone at the head of the company that does not take part in office politics and basically who disregards them. Secondly, you need to develop a fairly thick skin so that you don't take every rumour and bit of gossip personally. Try and avoid office politics, it is a dangerous game which takes people's focus away from the their career plan and often creates a whole host of problems for them.
12. Work Smarter
Don't fall into the trap of trying to be the person who works the longest hours. Concentrate on delivering results and making sure those results are the best you can achieve. Be confident of your own success and other people will have confidence in you.
13. Being a winner
So what does being a winner take? Certainly commitment, enthusiasm, determination to make things happen, ambition and a real drive for responsibility. It takes all of that plus the right attitude and being in the right place at the right time. Even if you are not looking to move now, you need to be monitoring what is happening in your marketplace. You need to be managing your own career getting yourself ready for your next move rather than waiting to see what might or might not happen.
Here are some of the best benefits to working at one of the Big 4 accounting and consulting firms:
– Exponential learning curve.
Very few careers, if any, will expose you to so much so fast. You will have the opportunity to learn something new every single day and you will constantly be presented with new challenges. It is no secret why people from the Big 4 firms are so highly coveted by virtually every other company. By working at a Big 4 firm you will rapidly develop skills and expertise that simply cannot be learned anywhere else. If you were to look at the career trajectories of an employee at a Big 4 firm and one of their peers in corporate, they would barely be comparable. The results would be so skewed in favor of the Big 4 employee in terms of the importance and complexity of tasks they are able to handle and the speed with which they acquire certain skills that it quickly becomes difficult to believe the two people could have started from the same place. Simply put a career at the Big 4 allows you to acquire knowledge and expertise at an unmatched rate.
– Opportunity to take on large amounts of responsibility very early in your career.
Before you have worked your second full year at a Big 4 firm you will become directly responsible for overseeing employees. We are not referring to jobs where people assign tasks from time to time to incoming personnel, or train new hires for a few weeks. We mean that every single day you will have one or more people who you are responsible for. You will have to manage their workload, find ways to make sure they succeed, and report to your boss on their progress. There are very few careers that allow you to start obtaining direct managerial experience by age 24. For example, if you chose to leave your Big 4 firm after four years you will be able to tell an interviewer that not only do you have experience managing people, but for that last two and half years you have directly overseen one to three people every single day. Translation: it will make you very unique.
– You will work with incredibly smart and successful people every single day.
These people can serve as examples and mentors for the rest of your career. When you start your career you are essentially a blank slate. Many of the habits and ways of doing business you will pick up will stay with you for the rest of your life. The benefits of apprenticing under highly successful and intelligent people are difficult to quantify, especially for someone early in their career. Another benefit to working with very motivated and smart individuals is the enjoyment and satisfaction that comes from a job well done. Though the work can be very challenging at times, most people at Big 4 firms have a lot of personal pride and enjoyment when they look back on projects they successfully completed through collaboration with a team full of stand-out individuals. In fact, one of the biggest reasons cited by people who return to the Big 4 after previously leaving for another job is the quality of the people they get work with on a daily basis. Not everyone in Corporate America is young, energetic, and motivated. These qualities can be difficult to appreciate when they are all you have known your entire career. However when you come in contact with someone who has done the same job for the last 15 years, wants to punch out of work as early as possible every day, and could not care less about improving the way things are done or thinking ambitiously or creatively then the importance of the type of people you work with becomes much clearer.
– You will have every opportunity to prove yourself and succeed.
At a Big 4 firm you will be able to take on as much work and responsibility as you are capable of. You will not have some horrible boss that holds you back or forces you to work within the confines of the corporate structure. You will not have one or two people above you who are a bottleneck for all opportunities within the Company, and who decide your fate and where your talents and skills will be used (or not used) based on the tasks you are assigned. At the Big 4 you will be working within the hierarchy of a team. Partner through staff you will all have the same ultimate goal which is usually the completion of a project or engagement for your client. Certain tasks are absolutely expected of people at each level, however if you are able to complete your assignments adequately you will be welcomed and encouraged to go above and beyond your current level. If you have the ability and skills the sky is the limit.
– Annual promotion.
At the Big 4 you either rise up or you move elsewhere. There is no dwelling at the same level for years on end. If you continue to work for the Big 4 year after year it is basically a guarantee that you are advancing your career year after year. After just three or four years at the Big 4 you will begin to get job solicitations from other companies that will offer you substantially more money than your current salary. One of the biggest reasons people turn down these offers and stay with the Big 4 is because of the rapid advancement they know they will enjoy in the coming years. A real life example from one of the members of our team is a perfect illustration of this: As a second year staff our team member watched his Associate/Senior leave the firm for a 30% pay increase with the client. Four years later our staff member was half-way to becoming a Senior Manager (professional with 9+ years of experience who is one step away from Partner) while her former boss was still an Associate/Senior with her previous client. The business model of Big 4 firms is built so that there is always room for high performers to continue advancing. There are no such guarantees at many companies on the corporate side.
– World-class experiences.
The Big 4 accounting and consulting firms work with the best companies in the world. Their clients include every company in the Fortune 500 as well as most every notable company not in the Fortune 500. This in turn means that the Big 4 are actively involved in nearly every event of significance with these companies. The following experiences are things that become hidden gems on resumes; they are very rare and very valuable experiences. However at the Big 4 firms, opportunities like those listed below are commonplace.
– International opportunities.
The Big 4 firms have operations and offices in nearly every country in the world. These companies literally span the globe. They work with the most successful multi-national corporations in the world, and are able to offer their services in any location that their clients do business. As a result, the Big 4 have developed an incredibly integrated structure that provides many international opportunities for those seeking them. For example, a multi-billion dollar oil company that has revenues greater than the GDP of most countries is not interested in receiving primary services in the US, with some auxiliary services in Great Britain and some sparse offerings in Japan. No, companies like these demand the same great service whether they are operating in Nigeria, Mongolia, Canada, Brazil, or any other place on Earth. This means that the Big 4 ultimately provide fairly similar and comparable services throughout the world, which gives their employees fantastic opportunities to take the skills they have developed in one place and use them in another. As another example, someone who worked in New York during the height of the financial crisis to help banking clients overcome their balance sheet issues could now go to almost any country in Europe and provide similar expertise. In addition to the multitude of ways that skills learned at the Big 4 are transferable to other countries, these firms have all developed programs specifically for providing great international experiences. These things are like the study abroad programs of the corporate world. Big 4 firms will giving you housing abroad, they will have someone prepare your taxes for you so you don’t have to think about the complexities of international law, they will create a plan for you to integrate you back into the city of your choice in your home country when you return. In a world that becomes smaller every day, where global integration and experience become ever more important, the Big 4 offer some of the best professional international opportunities out there.
– Exposure to high ranking client personnel, including executives.
If you take a job at a large corporation you might get the chance to work with the Controller after 10 or 15 years. It may be more than 5 years before they even know your name. If that same corporation is the client of your Big 4 firm, you may be interacting with that individual in as little as three years. If you work on a smaller client you could work closely with the controller during your first month there, and you may even have opportunities to work with the CFO as well. There is no faster way to experience working with high-level people at a company than to join a Big 4 firm and work with their clients.
– Stamp of approval on your resume.
The Big 4 firms command a massive amount of respect in every industry and every country in the world. If you decide to leave a Big 4 firm you can take your resume to prospective employers and have confidence that you will immediately be respected. Once you have that Big 4 name on your resume it is an immediate signal to people in your future endeavors that you are an intelligent and hard-working individual. You will not have to go to 15 interviews to try and convince people that your previous jobs really were challenging and prepared you well for the future. When prospective employers see that name on your resume it is an instant credibility indicator.
Working at a Big 4 firm is not all sunshine and roses. There are challenges and difficulties involved as well.
– Long hours.
The single biggest complaint that comes from employees at Big 4 firms is the large amount of hours that are required over the course of the year. If this one issue could be resolved up to 90% of the negative aspects of the job would vanish for most people. However, we are not living in a fantasy land, in the real world the long hours at the Big 4 are a fact of life. It can be countered that the long hours are a requirement for some of the leading benefits of a Big 4 career. For example, it is difficult to learn and gain experience faster than everyone else when you are only working 9 – 5. Likewise, experiences like IPOs, significant acquisitions, and large implementation projects do not get done over the course of a 40 hour work week. Regardless, this section of the website is about cons and the long hours take their toll on everyone at some point. Big 4 careers require a commitment to the job that will undoubtedly require sacrifices in your personal life at different points in time. During very busy periods such as auditing year-end financials, tax season, or the weeks leading up to the go-live date of a consulting project, it would not be uncommon for an employee to wake up, go work all day, and come home and go straight to bed. The time commitments within the Big 4 are very demanding and need to be considered before deciding you want to start your career there.
– Stressful workloads.
At times your workloads at the Big 4 will be quite intense and even overwhelming. In fact you will likely be pushed past what you thought were your limits at some point. Success at a Big 4 firm requires the ability to handle a multitude of tasks and responsibilities at the same time, much more than what a normal person would usually face. While this can be exciting and interesting at times, it can also be very frustrating and difficult to cope with. The phrase “there just are not enough hours in the day” can come to have new meaning on an especially difficult project with a tight timeline or a shortage of capable personnel.
– Client demands.
While working at the Big 4 can provide access to some of the greatest and most respected companies, these companies are also some of the most demanding. Many of your client contacts are expected to put their personal lives and agendas on hold for the company when necessary, and their expectations of you will be no different. Deadlines are deadlines, it does not matter if they fall on a weekend you had big plans. If a project is running behind schedule some clients will expect you to clear your own schedule to fix to fix this inconvenient fact. Client demands are the primary reason behind the first two cons we have discussed.
– Pay discrepancy (after several years).
Starting pay at the Big 4 is actually quite good. It compares very favorably with almost all of the jobs you will consider as you start your career. However after about three years there becomes a noticeable discrepancy between a person’s Big 4 salary and what they could earn if they made a lateral move to a client (took a position equivalent to their experience and skill set at the Big 4). Part of this reason is because of the rapid career progression enjoyed at Big 4 firms. For example after four years at a Big 4 firm you might have acquired the skills and knowledge to be able to work in a position at the client that normally takes six or seven years to get to. However this can be a small consolation when you have mortgage payments to make or want a new car. The simple fact of the matter is that people with more than three or four years experience at a Big 4 firm can usually find a lateral move that will increase their salary by up to 30%. There are obviously additional benefits to continuing to work at a Big 4 firm or else everyone would leave at this point. Therefore it really becomes a personal decision of when is the best time to leave. However as long as you are with the Big 4, you can plan on having to realize that some incompetent person at the client is somehow making more than you.
The cons of the Big 4 really come down to the type of lifestyle you need. From a professional career standpoint, there are very few careers that offer you the opportunity to learn as fast or as much as you will at the Big 4. A quick glance at our article on the pros of a job with the Big 4 will make it obvious that there are some unbelievable professional benefits to careers with the Big 4. The tradeoff for this is that you put in a lot of hours, and will likely face some stressful and frustrating situations along the way. Everyone is different, so the impact of the cons really comes down to personal preference. Some people want to get out of work every single day when the sun is still up and have several hours to pursue their own personal interests. While this lifestyle is certainly achievable some, if not a majority, of the time at a Big 4 firm, we can guarantee it won’t always be the case. Conversely, some people have a very specific vision for the quality of life they want to have and a target salary they one day hope to earn. While others simply want to start out on the best career track possible so that they have the best possible options (career-wise) later in life. For these people, the long hours or stressful workloads may be necessary evils that they are willing to deal with to get where they are going. The cons listed above are the things that Big 4 employees universally find difficult or annoying about the job. They need to be considered in conjunction with the pros of the job, as well with individual life goals and lifestyle objectives to determine whether a career with the Big 4 is a good option.
ICAP regularly arranges exam techniques and motivation sessions. The recently qualified and top achievers are invited to share their experience and exam tips. I was invited for one such session recently where i shared my experience and motivated the students appearing for the exams.
For those who couldn't make it, here's a little summary:
I shared my idea to successfully pass the exams by introducing the idea as "MY 6 P'S OF SUCCESS". Here are a few highlights:
1) PAST PAPERS
Write write and write! Oral is not enough!
Attempt at least last 3 attempts papers in the ICAP library timing yourself. Give yourself 3 hours 15 minutes just like you are sitting in the exam. Convince your friends to join you and then mark each other’s papers. This will reduce your fear on the exam day and will help you manage your time better.
DECIDE TODAY AND STICK TO IT. DO-NOT DECIDE IN THE VERY END.
Reward your-self in between the day or after the whole day of hard work. Go out with friends for dinner or small snacking between the day. "All work and no Play made Jack a dull boy".
Allah hi Allah Kia Karo. Dukh na kisi ko dia Karo ! ENOUGH SAID
I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST OF LUCK! MAY ALLAH HELP US SUCCEED IN OUR GOALS. AMEEN!
Anum Alam Khan
The CA and CPA are fantastic accounting qualifications that can give your career a competitive edge. But how do you choose which one to study?
The importance of accounting qualifications
For an employee looking to make the next step in their career, any accountant with a CA or CPA have a competitive edge over those without one. Employees with a postgraduate accountancy qualification are looked on favourably by businesses. Employees with these qualifications tend to drive efficiencies and improvements in a company’s systems and processes. I believe qualified employees can have more exposure to the many aspects in an organisation than most other employees in a company.
The differences between CA and the CPA
The title accountant is not defined by law. A person working in a company as a bookkeeper without any qualifications can call themselves an accountant. This relates to the job being performed. This is different for a lawyer who must hold a law degree to be able to call themselves a lawyer.Because of this, if you require an accountant to look after your taxation returns and business structures you can choose a person with varying qualification levels, from none, to university and post graduate training.
Accountants who hold either a Chartered Accountant (CA) designation or a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) must be degree qualified, have completed a post graduate course and hold a practicing certificate from either of the above. Nearly all the large accounting firms are Chartered Accountants. They are also governed by the ethical and quality assurance regimes of these two bodies. Accounts who simply call themselves accountants who are not members of the above 2 peak bodies are not subject to their.
Engaging either a CA or CPA ensures your accountant has completed an undergraduate degree is accredited with either body, works to a code of ethics, is up-to-date with accounting and business practices and takes continuing educational classes to retain their practicing certificate.
When it comes to separating the two qualifications, there are some distinct differences.
If you would like to specialise in a particular technical function, then a Chartered Accountant qualification is a good choice. It can help you move into a financial controller or CFO-type role later in your career.
The CA course content is geared heavily toward auditing and tax matters and, from a technical perspective, those that obtain a CA qualification are better prepared to handle the more complex accounting issues. The knowledge you gained from CA qualification has been applicable on a practical level nearly every day of his career. The knowledge, insight and applied practice you gain is invaluable.
On the flipside, students wanting a broader focus on more varied accounting skills, such as costing, production, marketing and planning should opt for a CPA. A CPA can open many doors to many exciting industries around the world. You will become an active partner in the success of the company and a CPA will teach you how to diversify your thinking. This can lead to a career path in more management or innovative sectors of a business. CPA made you realise that accountants can have real impact on a business’ performance.
How to decide on an accounting qualification
The key question that arises is whether CPA benefit my career path or CA? There is no clear winner because both qualifications will help to grow your technical skills, accountancy skills and business management skills. Also, CPA and CA holders tend to be equally spread across commercial and public accounting – so each qualification provides maximum flexibility to work across industry.
Deciding on whether to pursue a Chartered Accountant or Certified Practising Accountant’s qualification is not an easy decision, and our interviewees had some pointers.
Firstly, you must have an open and honest discussion with your teacher, friends, colleauges, family friends, parents and peers about what you and they think is the best qualification that suits to your skills, the company’s business goals and your future career direction. Talk with your teacher, friends, colleauges, family friends, parents and peers and consider your options, taking into account where you’re at now as well as where you see yourself in five, 10 and 15 years. In addition, research the roles you want in the future and understand the skills and qualifications required for those roles.
Students preparing to embark on either a CPA or CA need to know that it will require a significant time investment and that there are no shortcuts. It requires a significant time commitment. You need to be dedicated and 100 per cent focused. Once completed, students gain access to a vast network of alumni, which opens up networking opportunities and international job postings.
The CA is an internationally recognised, respected and sought-after qualification, so it definitely helped open doors for you around the world that would have been harder to open without it.
Opportunities are limitless whether a student pursues a CA or CPA. Both qualifications can kick start a global career, however it is up to the student to decide which path they want to take.
The simple advice is to talk with your teacher, friends, colleauges, family friends, parents and peers about what you want from your career and the skills you wish to develop. Either way, you’ll be well positioned for a prosperous accountant career with the CPA or the CA designation next to your name.
For more guidance, drop an email at : email@example.com
Sounds like a buzz word these days due to its increasing demand among ICAP students who want to join training to be eligible for CFAP examinations and finally to become a qualified Chartered Accountant.
The concept of industrial training was not new. Earlier 6 months to 12 months industrial training is allowed as per training regulations. It was the post ear of 2008 when ICAP start deliberation into the concept of industrial training due to its prevalent practice around the world and most importantly the current professional demand.
Earlier after passing C.A. (Intermediate)/CAF examinations (normal procedure), students embark their journey to this chartered accountancy world by joining the firms where they pass through a rigorous time and get trained to handle the challenges of post article life. A race was developed between big four firms and then big ten firms and so on. This race was jeopardized by category of firms in an illusion world for a period of fifty-six years. An attempt was made to clarify the issues and concepts through all available means which was succeeded too.
Industry articles was a voice since a decade and so but this issue got catch word in last few years due to various reasons. ICAP also started working on this issue and finally be able to draft a policy on it which cannot be implemented due to some legal considerations as given in C.A. ordinance.
Finally, with the arrival and beginning of new training era i.e Industry Articles in Pakistan for Chartered Accountancy.
Before embarking into the discussion of industry articles, we need to look into the history of industry articles. The concept of industry articles is not new in the world. This emerges with the advent of industrial revolution in the world. As with firm articles, there are views favoring this novel idea and ideas rejecting this idea due to various reasons which is explained below:
Meaning of Industrial Training:
Industrial Training refers to a program which aims to provide supervised practical training within a specified timeframe. This training will be carried out in approved institutions and organizations. The industrial training shall be received under the guidance of a Chartered Accountant member of the Institute engaged in such an organization. This is subject to prior approval from the industrial organization to be served or such principal.
Please further note that industrial training suits in those countries which had specialized and full developed and self-controlled financial system. Unfortunately, Pakistan industrial sector is not that much well quipped as in case of other countries where industrial training is fully operational from inception to completion.
Benefits of Industrial Training:
Provide opportunity to get training under your field of specialization like finance, marketing, supply chain management etc.
Why ICAP prohibits industrial training till now?
ICAP prohibits industrial training due to many reasons as follows:
The notion that ICAP not allow industrial training doesn’t mean any of the following descriptions:
ICAP is not enemy to anyone. There is a way to be done.
HOW TO SELECT RIGHT INDUSTRY ORGANISATION:
The rule to select the right industry organization is very critical to your career. This will affect your career in long term after completion of your training and qualification. Once the selection is confirmed by industry organization, you must discuss (if possible) with your Member Responsible for Student Affairs (MRS).
The prospective trainee should be aware of kind of work offered by industrial training organization. Since you are a trainee who will probably leave the organization once your training period will be completed, this is highly likely that you will not be given any key work. You will of course be deployed in finance or accounts or treasury department for minor work like bank reconciliation or agreement drafting but you will never be able to enter into core work of the organization whose responsibility lies exclusively on the employee and they are and will be accountable for that. The work assigned to you might result in development of frustration in you since you will be deprived of that. Deprivation will also be due to organization secrecy. Please weigh the pros and cons between your current articleship experience and the one offered by the Company.
In my opinion, leaving audit or tax exposure (here-in-after referred to as firm training) for industrial training would make sense only when you get good quality work or in a situation where you are not satisfied with your current employer.
Be very clear asking for your work profile with the interviewer. In my personal opinion, recruiters liked candidates who are clear in their thoughts and like to know why would they join the organization. Asking for the work profile is your right, which should be exercised every time.
Lot of banks also hire industrial trainees for a lot of their departments like corporate finance, private banking, wealth banking etc. You should therefore, be clear which division would you work for and what kind of work would they offer you.
There is no harm in candidly asking the above questions from the interviewer. Since you would be needing leaves for your study preparation, asking about their leave policy, working hours etc would be helpful in determining your decision to join that organization.
The CA firm will give you 45 days of study leave whereas the company may offer you less and therefore, you would have to take a call what suits you. There is no set mechanism to take a decision and it would purely depend upon your circumstances in that moment.
Please note that even in extreme circumstances, firm don’t give you exam leave and ask you to appear in exam while working. As firm can do anything, so in the case of industrial training organization. Anything can happen in the firm and industry with any trainee anytime.
Don’t join with an expectation to be absorbed
There is a misconception in the minds of students that once you complete your industrial training, the chances of you getting hired by the same company are very high. This may not be completely true. Majority of the good companies hire chartered accountants at the central level. There might be a possibility that industry training organisation will hire industrial trainees, but to get absorbed on their payroll you have to follow a completely different process. Yes, if your credentials are strong and you satisfy the requirements of their hiring process, you would definitely be preferred. But don’t take absorption in that organization for granted.
Wishing you all green lights in life…
If you are a fresher, the company might prefer recruiting employees who have undergone training in their own company
Articles in industry, is it good or bad? Instead of taking sides let's see this objectively. If articles in industry are allowed the choices will increase, both for students and employers. Movement from one training organisation to another will become easier. Let me explain with an example. ABC has passed CAF and is now looking for a training organisation. ABC can choose between audit firm or an employer in the industry. ABC knows that in firm ABC will get more exposure and therefore he decides to join a firm. After 2 years in the firm ABC applies for remaining training in a multinational company ABC has always dreamed of working for. That company instead of hiring a fresh intern will prefer ABC as he has 2 years of experience in the firm already. So now 3.5 years have been completed and this will appear in the CV of ABC. Two years’ experience in audit firm, 1.5 years experienced in multinational company. Plus it will also cause firms to improve their attitude towards students as students will be free to move to industry any time (the demand is there). Now in theory a student can move from one firm to another with an NOC but in reality it's close to impossible, especially in the case of Big 4. Overall it's a good thing, the one who thinks firm is better he should stay there and one who thinks industry is better should go there. It's a matter of choice not a debate. The more choices there are the better.
Both have their own upsides and downsides to them. An Audit Firm for breath of knowledge and experience and Specific Sector for depth of knowledge and experience. So an Audit Firm would be like an MBBS and Specific Sector like Dermatologist, Neurologist et
So let’s discuss what a part qualified is, the issues faced and the suggested solution compared with the steps taken by ICAP to mitigate such issues. We shall also discuss the job consequences of such steps taken by ICAP.
Part qualified CAs:
Previously a person who was unable to complete CA examinations in full was known as part qualified CA.
Issues are faced by such persons in searching for job outside Pakistan more than inside the country because local market knows what is CA Inter/finalist and international market does not. Persons with CA inter + Articles are always able to get reasonable jobs inside Pakistan, however due to non-recognition of this part qualification on international level the issues faced in searching job are alarming.
Introduction of certifications:
After ICAP has officially notified the certifications AFC, CAF and CFAP as a “Complete Qualification”, the definition is revised technically to “A person who fails to pass all the papers of a particular certification”, which means that:
1. You have passed AFC level – Not part qualified e.g. fully qualified
2. You have passed CAF level – Not part qualified e.g. fully qualified
3. You have passed CFAP level – Not part qualified e.g. fully qualified
The impact of this is positive more for international markets rather than local. Now you can tell the Sheikh that you have a certificate in accounts and finance (CAF) from institute of chartered accountants of Pakistan, and a post qualification experience of 4 years from ABC Chartered Accountants. Seems good?
However, local market still knows CA Inter and Final, and these terminologies are not much familiar. Even those employers who know what is CAF, they still consider you a part qualified CA.
Recognition of CAF certificate and introduction of Professional Accounting Affiliate (PAA):
The purpose of introducing CAF certification was to provide recognition to part qualified CAs. Initially there was a requirement to complete 1 year of training in order to write “CAF” with your name, which is no more. However, the institute failed to get recognition of CAF from HEC and has now introduced a new degree named “Professional Accounting Affiliate”. After passing 16/21 required papers and completion of mandatory training from an approved training organization, you shall be awarded this degree. Still HEC has not recognized this degree as equivalent to graduation. Let’s discuss pros and cons of this step by ICAP:
Institute should get recognition from HEC and international institutes as well for PAA and take steps to generate awareness in local and international markets. If it fails to do so, it should award this degree to “CAF + Article” persons without condition of additional 3 papers. Apparently, there is not much incremental benefit to a person having CAF certificate + Training experience if he opts to avail this degree.
This blog provides a separate discussion forum to arrange issued faced by professionals and keep track of such discussions outside our facebook discussion forum, where is it not possible to keep such track.